Pandemic Diary: Indonesia’s Badminton Reputation at All England Gets Ruined by Coronavirus

Everyone seems to be angered following the decision that Indonesia’s team at All England 2021 must be isolated for days after it was found that a passenger taking the same airplane with the team tested positive for Covid-19.

Badminton is a big deal in this country. Just as big as soccer but badminton surely gives more prestige and real achievement at the international scale.

This year the dream of consoling the pandemic-ridden nation collapsed after the team suffered from an unexpected turn of event.

Indonesia, as far as I’m concerned, has so much pride when it comes to badminton. That’s almost what the nation has got. This sport is just everything they’ve got to brag about. Which is why they make so much fuss about this incident.

No other sports enjoys the same shower of attention in Indonesia like one that badminton has.

The sport has put the developing country to the equal podium just like other developed nations such as Denmark, Japan, China, and even the United Kingdom, a country of origin of the sport itself.

There must be something about badminton that makes it so unbelievably loved by lots of Indonesians.

Badminton turns into a face of the nation in the world. It is even dubbed “sport diplomacy” for Indonesia.

But the problem is badminton is a sport that shows the paradoxical nature of the nation.

(Almost) every Indonesian loves badminton but badminton so far is identical with Chinese-Indonesian figures from Rudi Hartono to Susi Susanti. If you may not be aware, Chinese Indonesians are not a majority group. They are usually marginalized and up to now they still have to face discrimination both subtle and overt ones. But guess what? They proudly represented the country that has treated them quite unfairly in life.

We know how Indonesia has become a lot more conservative and rigid these days. It has always been but the past years as we saw Ahok’s case and other public cases that showed shamelessly the violence, ignorance, hate and hostility towards minority groups, we cannot turn our face away from the fact that badminton in Indonesia is huge thanks to the merits of the minority group as well.

Another paradox is that the sport is supported by the most notorious yet lucrative industry in the country: cigarette. Years ago a cigarette company funded a badminton scholarship and some people were enraged about this. But long time ago, such thing had already been the norm. The cigarette companies are known to be a generous sponsor for badminton players and their young sprouts. Especially because the sport is not cheap indeed. If you want to go international, you have to build a good system to continuously produce quality players in a sustainable manner.

What I need to stress here is that Indonesian government’s favoritism over badminton has sometimes made other athletes from other sports envious. A lot. (*/)

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Writer & yogi

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